Virtual Star Parties, More Astronomers Needed

For those of you following me on Google+, you know that I’ve been hosting virtual star parties with Phil Plait and Pamela Gay. We’ve teamed up with astronomer Mike Phillips who has been livestreaming his telescopes into a Google+ Hangout and then broadcasting it live so everyone can watch. So, it’s sort of like looking through an amazing telescope, but with color commentary from us at the same time.

It’s been an amazing experience so far, but I know it can be even better. I need to find more astronomers able to livestream the view from their telescopes into a webcam and then into a Google+ Hangout. I’d like to have multiple telescopes going at the same time, with different views of the skies. Some focused on planets, others at deep sky objects.

And it doesn’t have to be big telescopes. There are beautiful objects in the sky, like open clusters, which look better with a wider field of view.

So, if you’re interested in participating, you’ll need to have a way to get the view from your telescope, into a webcam, and then use that webcam to join a Google+ Hangout. If you can do that, drop me an email at [email protected] and we’ll run some tests.

Here are two previous nights of experiments that we’ve done so far.

Virtual Star Party – January 6th, 2012

Virtual Star Party – January 5th, 2012

Weekly Space Hangout for Jan. 5th, 2012

This was the first weekly space hangout, run as a Hangout on Air in Google+. On the agenda: NASA’s GRAIL Mission, the return of Phobos-Grunt, the Quadrantid meteor shower, 2012 nonsense and teleporting Obama to Mars. We were joined by Nancy Atkinson, Alan Boyle, Fraser Cain, Pamela Gay, Nicole Gugliucci, Ian O’Neill, Phil Plait, and Jon Voisey.

I apologize for the low quality of audio and video, we’re working out ways to make this all better, but I hope you enjoy the discussion.

Announcing Our Weekly Live Video Space Hangouts

Weekly Space Roundup

Thanks to the power of Google+ Hangouts on Air, we’re now able broadcast live video hangouts with a worldwide audience.

We’re planning to run these Hangouts on a regular schedule, live on Google+. We’ll post a link when the Hangout is about to begin, but if you want to get notified, make sure you circle Fraser Cain on Google+ – then you’ll see the Hangout in your stream when it has begun.

You don’t need to be a member of Google+ to watch them, we’ll post a public link when we’re getting started here, on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. We’ll post the completed videos to Youtube after the fact.

I’ve put a countdown timer over on the right-hand side of Universe Today, so you can see time until the next video hangout.

We currently have two weekly “shows” planned, with more to come:

Weekly Space Roundup – Thursdays at 10:00am PST

Once a week, we’ll pull together the combined space reporting power of Universe Today, Bad Astronomy, MSNBC, Planetary Society, Discovery.com and other space news outlets to give you an overview of what’s going on… out there.

Join a random collection of space journalists, including Nancy Atkinson, Alan Boyle, Fraser Cain, Pamela Gay, Nicole Gugliucci, Emily Lakdawalla, Ian O’Neill, Phil Plait (and other bonus guests) for a weekly roundup of space news.

We’ll update you on the week’s big space news stories and provide our expert analysis. Since this is live, you’ll be able to participate in the conversation, asking questions to our team.

Astronomy Cast Live – Time to be determined

Watch Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay record Astronomy Cast as a live Google+ Hangout. Then join us after the show for an actual hangout. We’ll chat with fans about the topic we discussed and answer general space and astronomy questions.

Discovery of Earth-Sized Worlds – Google+ Hangout

This is the live Google+ Hangout we did to discuss today’s announcement of Earth-sized worlds orbiting another star. A big thanks to Nancy Atkinson, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, MSNBC’s Alan Boyle and the Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla.

I apologize at low resolution and other issues. This is a work in progress and we’ll have things more organized in the future.

If you’d like to find out about and watch future Google+ Hangouts, head to Google+ and circle me. Then you’ll be notified with the Hangout is about to start.

Live Broadcast, Tuesday, Dec. 20th 12:00pm PST: Kepler Planet Discovery

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Want more information about the recent discovery of Earth-sized planets by NASA’s Kepler Mission? I’ve gathered together a team of scientists and astronomy journalists to talk about the announcement. We’ll explain the discovery in detail, give you some context, and then answer questions from the viewers.

We’re doing this as a Google+ Hangout on Air, which is in a beta state right now, so there could be all kinds of technical issues, but we’ve tested this out and it’s really cool.

Our current team will be me (Fraser Cain, Publisher of Universe Today), Nancy Atkinson – Senior Editor of Universe Today, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, the Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla and MSNBC Science Editor Alan Boyle. I suspect we’ll have a few more joining us too.

I’ll post a link to the Hangout once we’ve gone live, just after Noon, so check back then.

If you want to get notified, head over to Google+ and circle me, Nancy, Phil, Emily or Alan and you’ll see the broadcast in your stream once we get started.

The broadcast is over. I’ll post the video once I get my hands on it.